Friday, August 1, 2014

The Word No

Well, that title doesn't sound very positive, does it? No one really likes to hear the word no. Most people don't really like to say it, myself included. However, I think it's really important that we as a society learn both how to say no, and to be able to accept hearing the word no.

For the past couple of summers I've worked at my local library for the summer reading program. At the end the kids signed up are given one extra week to come back and get prizes but not earn more points. Just the other day I was blessed with the opportunity to work the first day that people weren't allowed to get points. While several kids and parents were completely understanding, there are always those few who get angry and try to put up a fuss, thinking that they will eventually get what they want. I see this as incredibly problematic behavior.

  1. It reinforces the idea that if you argue/complain enough, you will eventually get your way.
  2. It shows the people around you that you can't accept that no means no.
  3. This type of behavior sets a bad example that your children might emulate.
While I think there can be times where you totally have the right to disagree/complain, it happens all too often for trivial things. If I'm blessed with children in the future, I hope that they grow up knowing that sometimes we need to accept the word "No".

I also think it's vital to one's happiness to learn how to say no. This is something I completely struggle with. I'm a people-pleaser. I hate having to tell people no, but I'm definitely learning that sometimes it can be necessary. I can't count how many times I've said yes to doing something I'm not really interested in, just out of fear of saying no. I've over-stretched myself, ignored my own emotions, and compromised my own happiness because I haven't wanted to say no.

This summer I've realized that if I want to be my own person and just be happy, I have to learn how to say no without feeling guilty. This doesn't mean I never do things outside of my comfort zone, or that I always need to do something that I want. It means that I've stopped completely compromising self-happiness for the happiness of others.  I'm definitely still a people-pleaser, and I don't always say no when I should, but there's been a steady improvement for the past few months. Hopefully I'll be able to continue this trend this upcoming school year.

"No" can be a positive in your life as long as you let it.

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